Tag Archives: Gospel of Luke

For As the Body

Show me the money.

James 2:14, 26

What doth it profit, my brethren, though a man say he hath faith, and have not works? can faith save him?

For as the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without works is dead also.

There’s a song from the movie musical My Fair Lady that I love, Audrey Hepburn singing to the man who would woo her, “Don’t speak of stars shining above, if you’re in love, show me.  Don’t say your heart’s filled with desire, if you’re on fire, show me.”  She didn’t want him to just tell her pleasing things.  She didn’t want mere words.  She wanted action.

In my relationship with God, who alone is worthy of all love, all honor, all glory, I extol praises and profess my belief in Christ Jesus, His Only Begotten Son, my Lord and the Lord of all.  I keep a blog (Divine Incarnate) full of postings in which I reflect upon the heart of God and man and try to layout some of the ways in which we can all live full lives, our hearts filled with truth and love.  I witness with my words.  But… What about my actions?  I write about my faith and the value of what I believe in – but what do I do in my daily life?  I write that we should do this or that – but do I?  Like in the movie Jerry Maguire, where the sports agent makes lots of promises to the athlete, but he, in turn, just keeps saying, “Show me the money!”  – Where is my money, where is my invested output, where are my expenditures of time and effort – where are my works?

As Jesus tells us through St. Luke’s Gospel account, “For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.”  And these were not mere words to Jesus.  He lived what he professed, he carried out that to which he bore witness – he did what he said he would do.  “Love one another as I have loved you,” sounds pretty.  And it could be just that: a pretty phrase.  But, Christ loved us bodily, with his actions, with the entirety of his being his very body and blood.  He put his money where his mouth is.  By his actions, there is no doubt where his heart is.

We love because God first loved us – and this love is not just a nice feeling or pretty sentiment, it is not merely a metaphysical kind of holding in one’s heart.  This is brilliantly clear in the Judeo-Christian faith, which testifies to God’s works, God’s direct action in space and time.  God loves us into existence – the act of Creation.  God unites Godself to us and sanctifies us – the act of God becoming Man, Christ Jesus.  And God saves us – the act of dying on the Cross and rising from the Dead.  Through Christ’s actions, God restores us to the fullness of life, life eternal.  To receive what is given graciously to us, we must follow Christ.  To follow him with our minds, our thoughts and intellects, is not enough.  To follow him with our affections and sentiments is not enough.  To fully follow Jesus Christ, and so be true Christians, we must follow with our bodies, too.  We must follow with our whole selves, mindful that love is not something esoteric – love is action.  So, to love the Lord our God with all our hearts, with all our souls, with all our minds, and with all our strength is to DO.  ACTION.  We love, not with our lips or sentiments, but with our works.  We love with our choices and our actions.

The jobs that people do every day to actively contribute to society are called professions.  The tenets of faith that people believe are also called professions.  I need to find a hearty, meaty, bodily way to bring these two concepts together in my daily life.  Writing about the faith is an action – but I do need to be careful and be sure that the faith about which I am writing is not dead.  This truly needs to be my faith, the faith that I profess by living it, my profession.  And, so, to facilitate this  – to bear better witness by being a better witness – I will try to post some of my personal acts of faith, the “works” that I do in everyday life.  (Hope I can find some….)   Mindful always, however, that I do nothing on my own.  If any of my actions are worthy of the faith that I profess, it is the Holy Spirit working through me.  All that I will have done is to accept, by the grace of God, the love that is given to me and to let that active love do what it must do as true love.

(If you wish to find out whether or not I put my money where my mouth is, I invite you to follow my blog Divine Incarnate and look for the category “works” or the tag “faith without works is dead”.)

Christina Chase

Dead, Being Alone

James 2:17-18

Even so faith, if it hath not works, is dead, being alone.

Yea, a man may say, Thou hast faith, and I have works: shew me thy faith without thy works, and I will shew thee my faith by my works.

Here, in these writings, I try to explore the deepest mysteries of life, seeking answers to the everlasting questions rising up from the human heart.  Nothing that I write here is disingenuous.  I love truth too much to write about anything other than what I honestly believe.  Here, in words that I have chosen, I lay out my faith, inviting others to share with me what God has given.  If there is deep and eternal truth expressed through any my words, it is the truth that comes from eternity, from the Source of all Being and the Source of all Grace.  Being human, I am but a reflection of that truth.  Created in God’s image, I reflect.

If the faith about which I write is true faith, honestly my own faith, than I will not only reflect upon the truth in my mind and heart with words, but I will also reflect the truth out into the world with my whole self.  Actions speak in ways that mere words cannot.  My deepest desire is to love Truth Itself, Beauty Itself, Love Itself, and so, to love God – to love God with all my heart and with all my soul, with all my mind and with all my strength.  Christ pleads with me from the Cross, begs me to be like unto him, to love as he loves – utterly and completely.  What am I willing to give, what am I willing to do, for the sake of love, for the sake of my beloved?  I should be willing to thirst… to be fatigued, to even be in agony if that’s what it takes in order to truly love.[i]

How do I love?  The poor are among us, all around us: the blind who need help in order to see, the deaf who need help in order to hear, the immobile who need help in order to move.[ii]  There are strangers to be welcomed and outcasts to be forgiven; there are wounded to be healed and sick to be cared for; there are hungry to feed and homeless to shelter; and there are those who find themselves imprisoned – by crimes of their own doing, by addictions, mental illnesses, or by loneliness – who need to be visited.  Do I take the time and effort to go out of my own way to help my fellow human beings in need?  Too often, I’m afraid, my answer is no.  Many times I won’t even go out of my own way to be of assistance to my loved ones who are struggling right next to me, because I think that they deserve to suffer a little for some offense that I’m holding against them.  In those times, am I not seeing splinters in the eyes of others while being oblivious to the beam in my own?[iii]

And if I won’t get out of my own way in order to take action and help someone in need, then I will never put myself in Christ’s way.  I will never find myself on the road upon which he walks, so that I may ask for what he wills and receive his blessing — and thank him.[iv]  When I pass from this life and hope to step into the next, I might call out to Christ and say, “Lord, Lord!”  But he may say to me in response, “I never knew you[v]… For I was hungry and you didn’t feed me, I was thirsty and you did not give me drink, I was naked and you didn’t clothe me, a stranger and you didn’t welcome me, sick and you didn’t care for me, in prison and you didn’t visit me.”[vi]  And, oh, the deep, painful sorrow I will feel cutting into my heart… for then I will suddenly recognize all the opportunities that I had in my earthly life to meet Christ face-to-face, to be with him and to love him tenderly, generously, selflessly, with all my heart, all my soul, all my mind, and all my strength… and I did nothing.

Forgive me, my Lord, for all the times that I have forsaken you!  For all those lazy, callous and spiteful moments in my life when I took no action to help you in your struggles.  I, personally, am not physically strong, like Simon of Cyrene[vii], to be able to hold you up bodily – but I do have enough ability, like a Veronica, to wipe your eyes and provide a moment’s soothing.  I can go out of my own way and find you on the road that you travel – on my street, in my community, in my own home – and hold you gently, lovingly, with all that I have and all that I am.  Help me, Lord, so that my faith is not dead and alone, but living truly and fully with you – for you, everywhere that you are.

[i] John 19:28, John 4:6, Luke 22:44

[ii] Mark 14:7, Matthew 9:35

[iii] Mat 7:3

[iv] Mat 8:2-3, Luke 17: 11-16

[v] Mat 7:22, Luke 6:46

[vi] Mat 25:34-46

[vii] Luke 23:26